Merry Christmas

by  Christian A. Brown  |  December 25, 2016  |     2 Comments

Christmas is a strange time of year. We’re surrounded in family, commercial and sincere sentiment, and grandiose (dis)illusions of community, caring and hope–which all shatter when Boxing Day hits and people are tackling each other for 50% off sweatshirts. But somewhere in the panoply, there’s at least a flicker–or more–of genuine affection. Beneath all the slathered on sentiments, the Sisyphusian cycles of Christmas movies that all feel, play and look the same, there’s true heart and love. Sometimes we have to dig to find it. Often, for me, that spark of Christmas cheer alights only once and unexpectedly, and not necessarily even on the day itself. Yes, I believe in Christmas “magic” or whatever  be that tranquil wavelength we share during the holiday season. I know Christmas magic is real because I spent one of my Christmases in ICU, with my family, and we managed to muster up a celebration even there.

We’re not a close family; many extended branches on both sides are actually estranged, too. Undoubtedly, the core three of us–dad, sister and I–love each other. Although, it’s a bit of a Family Stone affair, I suppose, where each of the cast have likeable attributes as well as repellent ones and they’re shoved together like a mess of mismatching puzzle pieces. Still, it works, sometimes, rarely: the pieces fit. We’re just so very different: some thinkers, others doers, all of us are or were artists. We each have our quirks and loudly declared wants and ideals. No wonder things can feel like such a glorious disaster when we’re together. But they’re my family, and even if I’m not with them all the time, I love them. It’s dastardly, that commonality enforced through blood. And inescapable. We are dealt the hand of family, and it can be full of wild cards–but we must make it work.

So, when it comes to this time of year, which makes me wince from memories of feeding tubes, sputtering faces, watching the woman I loved with all my heart slip away, I mentally return to that waiting room on that one dark Christmas…And, to that sad grocery store chicken that we shared–laughing at the absurdity of it. I wouldn’t have emerged from that event with sanity if not for my family. Ours was a bond made in grief and commitment. A biological imperative to nurture and support these queerest of creatures to which we were–through fate–attached.

I have a piece all done up–the artist-centric blog I mentioned was coming last week–though in keeping with Christmas tradition, I’ll push that back seven days and contribute my “traditional” holiday poem. Stay warm, stay loved, and stay kind this Christmas. All best to you and yours xo

(Some context: as I started writing this it morphed from something realist into the post-war–Geadhain’s great war–march of a small family of three who’d lost their matriarch.)

The Journey

We walk this road

A heavy load,

upon my woesome frame

Sun playing shy

No tear on face nor sky

We’ve come so far

–to bury her

Ashes rattling in my pack

But not louder than the promise,

of how she’d rest

Beneath the willows, the whitest billows

Come to Sorsetta’s grandest peaks

Now that magik holds no sway

And Nature rules as She may

Find me a repose

Where silent men pine

Tunes summoned not for mortal kind

A eulogy for those bygone

As I

“We’ll take you there, Mother.”

We often say

Firelight crackling low around our huddled pack;

darker shadows held at bay

Papa, once a rogue;

Marabelle, a wayward wench,

and the drunken poet that is I

Not a hero amongst us

Mother was our virtue,

who made us ruffians gleam

We shall shine for her

As we shamble and crawl

Our tarnished lights beaconing

Through realms of wonder,

past land’s spectres cursed in war’s thrall

These scars left by greatest of beings

Kings, they were

But what mere kings could shatter lands?

Could smash order into chaos,

with their terrible hands?

Their legends are praised

By the ruinous pinnacles,

of greenest land,

through which we weave our sorrowed band

Waning season and year

As our pilgrimage leans

Winter’s reign come to bear

Soon the mountains rise,

And our songs have died

While our feet are unerring in their march

We see the distant blots

The painters spots,

of a million pots of vibrant


Sorsetta, we see ye

Mother’s grave you shall be

Winter’s breath, snowy milk

Roaring flocks upon thee–and I

And just when I stumble

Before I can shout

Your hand lifts me–then hers

We face the road

Roiling and grand

We face the last stretch

Our climb

To remember her

To free her

And ourselves

–Christian A. Brown, 2016






  1. Jeff gibbs on December 25, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Would love to read some more

    • Christian A. Brown on December 26, 2016 at 2:45 am

      There’s plenty of poetry on the blog, do a search for “poem” and see what you come up with. Also, you can check out the first 70 pages or so of Feast of Fates for free on the Kindle previewer. And the book is only $0.99 (digitally) if you want to take the plunge! Happy holidays.

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